As many of you know, the reason for this trip was to visit my dear friends Erin, Laurie and Laura in San Francisco. My journey with cancer has really opened my eyes to the fact that my family and friends (all of you!) mean more to me than anything in the world. So reconnecting with my friends was the driving force behind this trip. Thanks to Nancy who made this all possible: she took care of my ticket, has driven me everywhere and has been a great trooper putting up with my whims and whiles.
So Nancy drove us along highway 1 because I’m afraid of heights! We spent the night in Monterey at the Intercontinental and had a nice ocean view. I felt a bit queasy so we had a soup and cheese plate at the hotel. The next morning was beautiful, gorgeous ocean views and a Starbucks around the corner.
As we left we stopped at the Cafe la Strada to pick up a lunch to go. It is part of a very nice hotel which looked very exclusive (and expensive).
We are sitting there now on our way back to LA.
From Monterey we drove along highway 1 past Santa Cruz and up to San Francisco, with beautiful vistas along the way. Our first stop in SF was Erin’s place in Greenbrae which is above the Golden Gate bridge on a hill.
We met her and her wonderful son Alec at the Bon Air shopping center and then followed them up the hill in the dark. Brad was in Boston visiting his dad who is very ill. We ate a great salad Nicoise and had a chance to catch up.
I think it’s been more than 10 years since we last saw each other (before Alec was born, and he is now 9). Erin is a documentary film producer. We’ve been great friends since going to UPenn together (University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia). We also worked together on documentaries for schools at the time. Erin has been working for the Teaching Channel, making documentaries in schools and producing resources for teachers across the country. She is so passionate about her work, it is really inspiring!
They have a wonderful dog named Monty, part border collie and australian shepard (Erin correct me if I’m wrong!). He is 15 years old, has a soft beautiful coat and is very sweet.
We had a leisurely morning, had coffee at Peet’s, and walked around the neighborhood by the water with Monty. Later on Nancy and I went into the city looking for a Paul Frank store (Nancy loves Lucius the monkey!). Unfortunately it was shut down. Now the only store we know of that is still open is in Kuala Lumpur. Perhaps when we visit my dad there we can go there…. Since that store was closed we went into Banana Republic, Nancy bought a nice winter jacket and a shirt and skirt for me. Thanks to the lady helping us I think we got a huge discount: 25% off the clothes, another 20 for taking the card and 10 for buying a tote bag. Not bad!
At night we met Erin at her friend Mark’s boat in Sausalito harbor. We also met Gary and Armand (not sure about the spelling). It was fun to have a pineapple juice on a beautiful boat in the bay! Heard some great stories.
Alec wasn’t feeling so well though, so we ate at Erin’s house. Alec got worse and wasn’t feeling so good. He’s such a great and smart kid, we were very impressed by his navigational skills!
On Sunday morning Nancy and I drove across the Richmond bridge to meet my friend Laura. Laura and I met at UT Austin where she did her master’s and I did a year in the PhD program. We had some trouble finding her house but once we did we had a great time talking with Laura, Jeff and their beautiful daughter Lucia.
Laura worked as a communications director for a non-profit but is now considering a career change and working on radio interviews. Jeff is an audio engineer at Dolby and told us about the next generation of theater sound! Lucia seemed happy to serve everyone (she is nearly three and so beautiful!).
Our visit was short but great fun! We talked about doing a series on people who are 80+ and active – an idea Erin and I came up with.
We went back to Greenbrae to pick up our bags, say goodbye to Erin and Alec (who was still sick) and left with lots of lemons from their lemon tree.
One of them fell out of my arms into the street and rolled down the hill (a lost lemon!).
Next we drove into the city to meet Laurie in the park. I wanted to see the Japanse Tea Garden again, one of my favorite spots in the city. As we drove along Presidio it became apparent that left turns are not allowed! In fact, it’s almost impossible to make a left turn anywhere in SF!
Laurie was already waiting for us! She’s been to Holland a few times to see us, had been at our wedding in 2005 and again a few years later. She’s such a trooper! She moved to San Ramon because of work, but the work isn’t that great and she misses San Diego. Me too!
Laurie and I worked together at HP back in 96-98. She’s specialized in training and management at high tech companies so if anyone knows of a great company in San Diego let us know!
We walked circles in the Japanese tea garden, thinking it was much bigger than it actually was.
Then we decided to go have drinks at a mexican place: guava juice for me, ice tea for Nancy and (free!) sparkling water for Laurie. We ordered nachos but they were tossed in a super spicy chili sauce that was way too hot for all of us. So out with the nachos and in with their home made chips, which were a bit too hard for my taste. We decided to eat sushi and looked in the guide book for a good sushi place. There was one on Geary – “no frills and fresh fish” – that sounded good so we headed there. We had to wait for 40 minutes outside to get a seat, but boy was it worth the wait! The best sushi ever! We had salmon avocado rolls, tempura shrimp roll and the spicy tuna tartar with mango. It was divine.
At about 9 we dropped Laurie off at the BART station on Market so she could take the train home and we went on our way to Monterey. Which is were we are now.
Today is the first cloudy day since I’ve been here (this is my 9th day here). So we’re taking it easy. We may visit Carmel and then head back to the 101 to Santa Barbara/or drive on to LA. We’ll see and I’ll let you know. Today is President’s day, so Happy Presidents Day everyone!